What are Dentures?

Dentures are commonly associated with the elderly as seen on T.V and possibly even in your own family. You often only see one type of denture in the media though: the full mouthpiece that Grandma or Grandpa take out of their toothless mouth and put in the glass of water, but that’s not the case all of the time. While the elderly association with dentures is fitting as people often get dentures to tooth decay caused by age, but anyone at any age can be a candidate for dentures–both partial and complete–depending on their situation. Periodontal disease, malnutrition, and even drug use all speed up the decay of teeth and cause the need for dentures at an earlier age.


Along with their aesthetic function, dentures serve a variety of other beneficial uses for the recipient. Wearers are able to chew their food better without the risk of choking, and are also able to articulate themselves more clearly due to enhanced pronunciation.


Partial and Complete Dentures

Dentures come in two different types: partial and complete. A consultation with your dentist can determine which is the best option for you, should they decide that dentures are the right fit for your situations.


Partial dentures are recommended to patients who still have healthy, existing teeth. Much like a bridge, the false teeth can be connected to your real teeth. Partial dentures are typically placed using either a series of wires or by using a fake gum base which will adhere to the mouth. This can be done to a single tooth or several teeth.


Complete dentures are used on patients who need an entire row of teeth to be replaced. Even if there are healthy teeth in place, they may need to be extracted for the purpose of properly fitting the dentures in the patient’s mouth. Complete dentures often take a little longer to create as they’re made once the teeth that needed to be extracted have been taken out and the gums have healed. Once done, the patient will need to make an impression of their gums by biting into a putty. This will ensure that the dentures are customized to fit their mouth for maximum comfort and efficiency.


In the meantime, the patient may be given a set of immediate dentures to use in the meantime while their permanent dentures are being made. The only downside to these dentures is that they are not custom fitted to your mouth and may cause discomfort and a decreased ability to do certain tasks such as chewing. However, the process shouldn’t take long and your dentist will contact you as soon as your dentures have come in so you can live in comfort.


Your dentist will go over detailed care instructions on how to look after your dentures, something which we will discuss in a future blog post in detail.


In the meantime, if you feel like dentures are the right choice for you or a loved one, please contact your family dentist and schedule in a consultation.

It doesn’t take much these days to get surface stains on your teeth. Coffee and wine drinkers and those who frequently use tobacco products are most susceptible to developing yellow or grey-toned teeth, but age also plays a role with our teeth naturally darkening the older that we get. However, with the media at our front and center every day, no one wants their teeth to look like this, even though teeth are not naturally meant to be completely white. As a result, procedures–both at home and in the dentist chair–have become widely available for those who seek it out. The treatment is considered cosmetic, and therefore not covered under insurance should you seek professional treatment, and comes in two forms: surface whiteners and dental bleaches.


Teeth Surface Whiteners

Definitely the more affordable out of the two, these teeth whiteners can be found at any local grocery store or pharmacy, nestled among the many brands of toothpaste and mouthwash. Each company will have its own version of a ‘whitening strip’, but they all essentially work the same way. Likewise, each brand will also have their own whitening toothpaste that is like regular toothpaste, but will generally have some sort of course material within to scrub and polish the surface of the tooth to remove the stains. These products are safe to use and are very unlikely to cause any wear and tear on the tooth itself. Keep in mind that products under this category of ‘surface whiteners’ are designed for just that: surface stains. These products will not correct heavy staining or internal staining, and definitely should not be used in place of a professional cleaning done by your dentist.


Dental Bleaches

Bleach treatments are best done from the comforts of the dentist’s office, but are much more expensive and may not achieve the desired outcome. A consultation with your dentist will determine whether this teeth whitening treatment is best for you, depending on the circumstances in which your tooth has become discolored. This is vitally important to ask of those who have undergone procedures such as filling, crowns, and root canal treatments since this type of discoloration is not the same as coffee stains. Once cleared for the procedure, there are two different kinds of bleach treatments available for teeth whitening, both of which your dentist will go over with you in explicit detail.

  • Vital bleaching is done on teeth that are considered “alive” and is generally used for removing stains caused by coffee and wine, as well as teeth that have grown naturally dark with age.
  • Non-vital bleaching is done on teeth that are not considered “alive”, such as teeth that have had their color altered by treatments like a root canal or a filling. Non-vital bleaching works within the tooth and whitens it from the inside out.

Once the treatment has been selected, it now comes down to choosing the method. This is determined by the number of teeth that the client wishes to be whitened, as well as the history on the tooth and how it came to be discolored.

  • The first method involves using a combination of light and heat on the teeth that have a special bleach applied to them. This often yields the fastest results as the light and heat activate the bleaching process right away.
  • The second method involves wearing a mouthguard custom fit to your mouth. The mouthguard is filled with the same bleach and you will be instructed to wear it for a certain amount of time during parts of your day.
  • The final method involves using a special toothpaste (not drugstore brand) that is mixed with the same special bleach.

Once again, only your dentist can make the call on which treatment and method is safe and effective for you to use. If you believe that teeth whitening is something that you would like to pursue, please contact your dentist for a free consultation and look over your options.

Before you ask, no, this is not a team-building exercise like how it sounds, although the bonding procedure will bring your teeth closer together, so the metaphor still works. A couple weeks ago we talked about veneers and how they work to get you that bright celebrity smile. Bonding is very similar in the way that it perfects your smile, so let’s take a closer look at it.


What is bonding?


The outcome of bonding is a lot like the veneer procedure that we talked about last week, though it is more commonly used for mild cases such as a single chipped tooth. The material is also similar as a composite resin is used for the restoration process. If you’re not familiar with composite resin, it’s a soft tooth-colored material that is placed in the gaps of your teeth and then hardened using light. The finished result will look polished and natural. Composite resin can also be placed on top of the tooth to cover up stains and match your teeth to one another.


How is Bonding Done?


Since composite resin is very delicate to work with, your dentist will first insert a thin plastic film between the tooth that is receiving the resin and the surrounding teeth. This way the composite resin will not go anywhere it is not supposed to. Then, like with veneers, your dentist will place a mild chemical on the treated tooth to make it slightly rough. This acts as an adhesive for the resin and will make it easier for it to bond to the enamel. Layers will be added as needed, with a light to harden each layer before the next is applied. After the final layer has been added, your dentist will shape the tooth and polish it to make it look natural and blend in with the rest of your teeth.


If you’re interested or wondering if you might be a candidate, contact your dentist and set up a consultation. They will be able to answer any questions or concerns that you may have.

February is most often associated with Valentine’s Day, but did you know that it is also National Children’s Dental Health Month? It’s a great time to bring awareness to children’s dental health, especially if they happen to gorge on all of that Valentine’s Day chocolate when the price gets slashed to 75% off after the holiday. Treats like that are great, in moderation of course, and taking care of their teeth after they’ve feasted their little hearts out is a top priority. But are the requirements for children’s teeth the same as adults? Let’s take a look.


A recent finding from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) actually found that the majority of children are using way too much toothpaste which, in turn, is damaging the enamel of their developing teeth. Children younger than 3 should only be using a smear of toothpaste that is equal to the size of a grain of rice, while children 3-6 years of age should use toothpaste equal to the size of a pea. The guidelines only go up to age 6, mainly because further beyond that children are less likely to swallow their toothpaste, although assistance from the parents may still be required.


However, the ‘pea sized amount’ can be applied to teens and adults as well. Most of us just load up the toothbrush though because that’s how toothpaste is marketed and advertised to us on a daily basis. This is one of those cases though where less is definitely more.


Oh, and don’t worry about spending the extra buck to get ‘child specific’ toothpaste. Adult toothpaste works just as well without paying the marketing premium for a picture of your child’s favorite cartoon character on the bottle. Unless your child is under 3 years of age and requires a toothpaste with 1,000ppmF, the adult kind with 1,450ppmF is totally safe to use.


For a refresher on brushing techniques that you can also use to aid your child, click here.